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Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space Grand Opening Details Announced

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The City of Fort Collins’ Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Larimer County’s Red Mountain Open Space will be opening June 6, 2009. Citizens are invited to Grand Opening festivities! All events and admission are free.

Saturday, June 6 (sites open to the public)
• Festive booths (9 am – 4 pm at all trailheads) Fun activities where you can discover the special natural and cultural features of Soapstone Prairie and Red Mountain.
• Time capsule art project (9 am – 4 pm at all trailheads) Make a celebration flag that will fly on opening weekend and be sealed in a time capsule to be opened in ten years! Record your first impressions, hopes and dreams for these special places. While supplies last. Other time capsule submissions such as writing, photos and drawings are accepted if they meet the guidelines at www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/timecapsule.php • Orientation talks (9 am – 4 pm, every 30 minutes at all trailheads) Get a brief introduction and trail recommendations.
• CSU Ram Nation Drummers (12:30 pm at Soapstone Prairie north trailhead) Enjoy the sounds of CSU’s Native American drum group. This performance invites community members to come together experience a diverse group of Native American drummers while appreciating the beauty and vitality of the Native groups that have historic ties to this landscape.
• Flint Knapping Demonstration (10 am- 1 pm at Soapstone Prairie Lindenmeier Overlook) Bob Patten, one of the world’s greatest flint knappers and author of Old Tools, New Eyes, will show his craft.
• Bike Tour (10 am, at Red Mountain trailhead) Join members of the Overland Mountain Biking Club for a bike tour, bring your own bike.
• Wildflower Walk (9 am at Red Mountain Trailhead) Discover beautiful flowers with a volunteer naturalist, 2.3 miles, easy.
• Get out and enjoy the trails! Trail map is included in site brochure, attached.

Sunday, June 7 (grand opening)
• Opening Ceremony (11:30 am simultaneously at Red Mountain trailhead and Soapstone Prairie north trailhead) Celebrate the efforts of many partners that made Soapstone Prairie and Red Mountain possible. Join a range of dignitaries from state representatives to local council members to recognize the special occasion.
• Festive activity booths, time capsule art project and orientation talks every 30 minutes (10 am –3 pm) See above for descriptions. Note: Ram Nation Drummers, Bike Tour and Wildflower Walk are on June 6 only.
• Get out and enjoy the trails!

Celebrate all summer at both sites
• Trail tours on foot, bike and horseback
• Learn about the Lindenmeier Valley- a National Historic Landmark
• Guided nature and history programs
• Full moon and star-gazing events
• Bioblitz (24-hour all species count), June 27 at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

Event details can be found at www.fcgov.com/naturalareas and www.larimer.org/redmountain.htm Registration is required for some programs after opening weekend, June 6 and 7.

Please carpool, parking is limited. Overflow parking shuttles at Soapstone Prairie will run June 6, 9 am- 4 pm and June 7, 10 am – 3 pm. If overflow parking is full, visitors are asked to please come back another time.

In case of inclement weather, visitors can check www.fcgov.com/naturalareas or call 970-416-2815. Information will be posted by 7 am on June 6 and June 7. Visitors are reminded to be safe and prepare for your visit- Soapstone and Red Mountain are remote natural places where conditions and weather can be dangerous.

After June 6, Red Mountain and Soapstone will be open daily, dawn to dusk. The sites will close annually, December - February. There is no camping. No dogs are allowed, even in cars.

Directions
Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (25 miles, one way) From Fort Collins take Hwy 1/ Terry Lake Road north, turn left onto County Rd 15 and travel north to Rawhide Flats Road. Turn right (north) onto Rawhide Flats Road and follow it to the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area entrance station.
Red Mountain Open Space From Fort Collins, take Hwy 1/ Terry Lake Road north, turn left onto County Rd 15. Take CR 15 to CR 78, go left and follow the signs to Red Mountain Open Space.

Thank you Fort Collins and Larimer County voters! Your citizen-initiated sales tax dollars conserve natural areas and open spaces and provide visitor services such as grand opening festivities and summer activities.